Domestic Partnership Agreements: The Home and Joint Expenses

This second installment of a 7-part series about domestic partnership agreements discusses the home and joint expenses. 

Home Together

Two people may acquire a home together. They may contribute different amounts to the purchase price. During their relationship, they may contribute different amounts toward improvements, the mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. Recognizing these respective contributions, domestic partnership agreements may establish a fair formula for splitting net proceeds if (i) the home is later sold or, (ii) if one person dies before the other and they are still together, a buyout from the decedent’s estate.

Questions to think about:

(a)  If the couple has children, are still together, and one parent dies, what would they like to happen with the home?

(b)  Is the answer different if they’ve been together for 2 years or 15 years? Would they want the surviving parent and children to stay in the home until there are no longer dependent children?

(c)  If the couple has children and one wants to end the relationship, what would they like to happen with the home? Is the answer different if they’ve been together for 2 years or 15 years?

(d)  If the couple has no children together, how would they like the home handled if one dies before the other or if one gives wants to end the relationship?

Handling Joint Household Bills

A committed couple may provide for a joint household account or other joint accounts to pay bills. Their agreement may allow deposits into joint accounts of funds either party may earn.   One may agree some distributions from a trust will go into the joint account.  The couple may decide a percentage of their separate money will go into a joint account for household bills or improvements.

Joint funds may be deemed joint property.  But ownership in trusts or each party’s separate accounts, and any growth in the value of such ownership or interests during the parties’ relationship, ordinarily would remain separate.

Read more about Florida Domestic Partnership Agreements: 

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